Updated: It’s a crowded local ballot this time around

A voter's feet are all that can be seen while casting a ballot at Rancho San Justo.

There are about the same number of local school contests as in prior years but more candidates – and contests – for the special and city office races.
“We see more activity with candidates opposing incumbents,” said Angela Curro, the assistant county clerk-recorder for the San Benito County’s registrar of voters.
This year, 63 qualified candidates caused 19 local contests to go on the ballot for a public vote, compared with 29 qualified candidates and eight local contests in 2012.
The number of candidates running for office per contest is averaging about the same as in prior years with three to four people per race. But more locals are running for offices, meaning more contests are reaching the threshold number of candidates needed to put the races on the ballot for a public vote, Curro explained.
While the number of local contests on the ballot has more than doubled, most of the additional races are in the special and city office contests and the number of school district trustee contests going to the public for a vote has remained about the same. This year, eight local contests for school board trustee positions are on the ballot. This number is similar to previous years as seven trustee contests went before the public for a vote in 2012 and nine were on the ballot in 2010.
Aside from the most-discussed item on the upcoming ballot, the Measure J petroleum initiative, there are six other local measures from which to choose. Measure J proposes to ban fracking, cyclic steaming and well acidizing countywide while barring all petroleum activities in residential zones.
Other measures include:
Measure H aims for a 10-year renewal of the county’s vehicle abatement program and would include a registration fee of $1 per vehicle and $2 for some commercial vehicles.
Measure I would raise the transient occupancy tax from 8 percent to 12 percent in the unincorporated county areas.
Measure K would change the Hollister treasurer position from elected to appointed. Three residents – Karina Hernandez, Cecilia Rios and Judi Johnson – are running for the role.
Measure L would raise the TOT tax for Hollister, also from 8 percent to 12 percent.
Measure M would raise $28.5 million for the Hollister School District through a general obligation bond for facility upgrades such as fixing leaky roofs; upgrading electrical capacity; repairing classrooms, project labs and buildings; adding classrooms; making upgrades for earthquake safety; replacing windows, ceilings, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning and lighting; removing dry rot; and a few others.
Measure T for the West Hills Community College District would raise $20 million for technology upgrades.
In local races for elected seats, the city and county races include:
For Hollister city council, two candidates are running for each of the two open seats, Mickie Solorio Luna and Victoria Montoya in District 2, and Karson Klauer and Robert Scattini in District 3.
In the mayor’s race, incumbent Ignacio Velazquez is facing challenger Keith Snow.
For San Juan Bautista City Council, five people are running for three seats. The candidates running for the open seats, without districts, include incumbent Tony Boch and challengers Ray Sanchez, Maggie Bilich, Chris Martorana and Jim West.
In the only contested race for county supervisor – Robert Rivas is running unopposed in District 3 – incumbent Jerry Muenzer is facing challenger Victor Gomez, a Hollister councilman.
In other prominent, local races, four residents are vying for two open seats on the San Benito County Health Care District Board overseeing Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.
Additionally, a slew of water district seats are open in the San Benito County, Sunnyslope, Aromas, Tres Pinos, Pajaro Valley and Pacheco Pass districts.
As for state races with relevance, Democrat Assemblyman Luis Alejo from the 30th District is running against Republican Mark Starritt, while Republican State. Sen. Anthony Cannella is facing Democrat Shawn Bagley.
At the federal level, Congressman Sam Farr, D-Carmel, is running against Tea Party member Ronald Paul Kabat.
In contested school races, the Gavilan College Joint Community College District board of trustees is looking for two San Benito County area trustees to fill trustee positions and attracted three qualified candidates: incumbent Kent Child and challengers Lois Locci and Elizabeth Dirks. The district is also looking for one Morgan Hill area trustee and has two qualified candidates: incumbent Laura Perry and challenger Mark Hinkle.
The San Benito High School District has three openings on their board of trustees and six qualified candidates. The incumbents are Mary Encinias, William “Bill” Tiffany and Steve DeLay. The challengers are Juan Robledo, Jennifer Coile and Roger Curtis.
The Hollister School District has three openings on their school board and seven qualified candidates. The incumbents are Lupe Caroline Navarro, Elsa Rodriguez and Patricia (Pat) Moore. The challengers are Peter Hernandez, Jr., Brianna Rodriguez Tavares, J.W. Paine and Erika Amezcua.
The North County Joint Union School District wants to fill two positions and brought in three qualified candidates. The incumbents are Cynthia Lyn King and Rodney Todd Bianchi. The challenger is Ted Zanella.
The Panoche School District has an opening to finish the partial term of a board member. There are two candidates for the position, including incumbent Richard Corbett Williams, who was appointed to the vacancy and challenger Margarida Rodrigues. The district also have two full-term trustee positions opening and attracted four qualified candidates, including incumbent Rani Gail Douglas who was appointed to a vacancy and challengers Paula Rodriguez, Paul Limbach and Eric Gordon.
The Southside School District has three openings for school board trustees and brought in four qualified candidates. The incumbent is Scott Alan Gilbert. The challengers are Nikki Bell, Martin Hernandez and Veronica Martinez.
More information
For a full list of the candidates and their profession for all the contests, go to sbcvote.us, scroll down to the middle of the page and select the PDF for “The Nov. 2014 Candidate List.”

Leave your comments